An Eye on Negotiations

Most of the coverage of Washington has been focused on the Republican agenda to topple Obamacare and the problems with the rollout and unintended effects on current insurance plans. But negotiations are underway that the public should pay attention to. As part of the deal that ended the 16-day federal government shutdown, a budget conference committee was created. This bipartisan group of 29 lawmakers had its second meeting last week to try to reach a budget deal. The group’s deadline to submit a compromise report for the 2014 budget is Dec. 13. Otherwise, more automatic cuts known as “sequestration” will go into effect.

These cuts would reduce federal agency spending from the current $986 billion to $967 billion. As with the first round of cuts, which adversely affected housing assistance, Head Start, WIC and other programs, millions of Latinos will be among those who will feel the brunt of these cuts.

It’s up to the same group of lawmakers who took the country to the brink of a catastrophe virtually overnight to work as a team to prevent a second government shutdown.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda urged lawmakers to take into account the priorities of the country’s Hispanic community. We join this call for a budget that strengthens the economy without setting up our families to sink. As they negotiate, lawmakers must consider these and other priorities: Don’t paralyze social services Improve investments in the Latino workforce and our small businesses

Invest in our youth through education, community service organizations and job training.Don’t forget that 2014 is an election year and that the Latino vote is our economic asset. Our community has the power to implement our own election “sequester.”